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comb my hair (by the by, I doubt whether there cultivated. It yields a profit, if you calculate the ever were any mermans, and whether they ever market value of the oysters exported, but it had long hair—but let that pass). Mine is an would yield a far larger profit if properly worked, inner bay; outside roll the waves of the Bay of as doubtless it would be worked by a private inBiscay. My sea d moi borders on a parc aux dividual; by which it appears that governmental huîtres, or (as it is written on the boards which control is not always the most profitable. mark its boundaries) parc à huitres, belonging Now come inside my garden. First, look at to the French Government, which is kept up as a my pleasure-garden. It is elaborately laid out feeder for all the rivers, estuaries, and other pos- with lawns and fountains and beds, but, like all sible spots where oysters can be sown by a pa- other ideal plans, it has yielded to the necessities ternal government.
of actual French life. The lawns have been I went to inspect this parc a day or two ago, utilized for the growth of hay for the horses and and now consider myself quite learned in the cows. The fountain was once supplied by a cismatter of oysters, so I will put down what I tern on the roof of the kitchen, but it leaked and learned. Of course I saw it at low water, for made the house damp, so it was removed, and the whole affair is down in the deep at high the pipes, taps, and empty fountain give an exwater.
pression to an idea rather than a reality. All First, there is a series of walls about two round the fountain are beds with pear-trees as feet high and eighteen inches broad, which ap- sentinels, looking continually into the empty respear to be constructed to keep the peace among ervoir. Pear- and apple-trees stand also marthe oysters—or, in other words, to prevent cur- shaled round all the walks, and flowers grow in rents and storms disturbing their tranquil lives. happy disorder, sometimes in the beds, someInside these walls is a series of little houses, times in the paths; while the strawberries have constructed rapidly, by putting together-much crept up into the lawns and sprinkle the hay for as soldiers stack their muskets-half a dozen the horses and cows. rather narrow tiles thickly covered with lime. It is, perhaps, difficult to understand the plan
These tiles receive the milk or spat of the of this my flower-garden, but it is like a courtolder oysters, which, adhering to them, remains yard of an ancient castle inclosed within an earthand grows into the oysters which some day are en rampart upon which there is a broad walk. to be carried away as seed, or as future mothers My kitchen-garden is very large indeed, and in a future bed. I saw oysters at all stages of contains such a wealth of strawberries and astheir growth: tiny little specks of this year, ba- paragus as I have never before beheld. Day bies a year old, young people of two years, and after day we send twenty-five or thirty pounds’ others ready for eating or deporting, of three, weight to market, and yet we eat them ourselves four, and five years' growth. As a rule, they are all day long, and give them in great quantities to not eaten until they are three years old, but our neighbors. I could linger long over these dredgers would not reject those of two years, al- gardens, but, as I want to keep you in good huthough at that age they would be small. Oysters mor, so that you may love this Brittany of ours are quiet people, and only ask to be left alone. with its picturesque scenery and still more pictuThey never move from the spot upon which they resque inhabitants, I pass on. are deposited, yet like all other quiet people they A few days ago, under press of circumstances, have very unquiet enemies, which not only dis- and because I could not secure our regular marturb their lives, but even destroy them. One of keter, I sent my garçon Thoma to the city, ten these enemies is sought for with great eagerness miles away, with a large basket of strawberries by the guardian of the parc, as it is most dead- for sale. He left here about four o'clock in the ly, and devastates his beds. It is a small whelk morning, arrived at the town before the market(called Luskina Bigourneau) in a spiral shell, hour, sold his strawberries, and ought to have which fastens on and bores a hole through the been back here about 10 A. M. Instead of which, shell until it reaches the oyster, upon which it Thoma, who is a sailor and jack-of-all-trades, feeds until there is no more oyster left. I saw who wears a sort of sailor's guernsey and talks many of the shells of the unfortunates which a patois between French and Breton, got into had been thus penetrated and devoured, and I temptation and fell. saw several of the little whelks which had killed Drink did it all. Drink lays low the greater them. They did not appear to possess any part of our poor Bretons. One sees more people weapons, or to be anything but little innocents; helplessly drunk or maudlin drunk here far away such is the deceptive character of the outside ap- from towns in these rural abodes than even in pearance both of men and fishes.
England; only they are for the most part quiet : Some fifty or eighty women work daily at low they neither swear nor fight. tide among these oysters, yet the bed is not well Poor Thoma kicked quite over the traces.
Perhaps he had felt too much of the English- greasy water and bits of bread, and puts even man's yoke ; perhaps he had done enough work water used in cooking into the universal soup. for a month or more. At any rate, he drank, Yesterday she sent in the peas with a lot of greenthen engaged himself to marry a dirty little ugly looking water, which one of our party, disliking, woman who did his washing (that is, when he took into the kitchen to pour away; Jacquette did not do it himself), and finally he bolted with requested as a favor that it might be put into her all my strawberry-money, and I have not seen own particular plate of soup, and it was. But him since. I am grieved, not on account of the Jacquette never washes, or, if she does wash, she money, for I owed him as much in wages, but does not conquer her dirt. She is dirty in person because, now my poor Thoma is gone, I have no and dirty in cooking our food. She is a bad cook, sailor for my boat, no one so utterly droll, or so and smokes everything she cooks. She potters beautifully picturesque to look at and laugh. For about all day, yet does not even keep the rooms Thoma was the most slippery sailor, the most clean. Upon the ladies falls almost all the houseidle fellow in the world. He never did half a hold work. Why, then, do we keep Jacquette? day's work while I had him. He waited till my First and foremost, because we can not get a back was turned, and then left spade, vessel, rope, better; next, because we like her very much for or barrow, without attempting even to put tools her good qualities; and, lastly, because when once away. Only in one way was he ever working we told her to go in a week, the dear old thing happily, and that was the way he knew was was so meek, so patient, so enduring, that we wrong Under such circumstances he would almost wept for her, and kept her on. Just now display an energy worthy of a better cause. Once I hear her shrill voice talking to little Marie, the he went with me to buy a little pleasure-yacht, farmer's daughter, in the kitchen.. Marie goes but before meeting the owner he agreed with me just where she likes, and does just what she likes: that he would only give his opinion in sly winks. She is an only child, not three years old. Her We went on board with the owner, who pointed little brother Jean died just as we were moving out the various good points of his vessel, con- in. Marie is very pretty, but also very dirty. stantly appealing to Thoma for confirmation, and She wanders about in sunshine and storm, early always being backed up by my garçon, but, when and late, with her father, mother, or grandmoththe owner for an instant turned his back, Thoma er. She pulls up plants, treads down seeds, screwed up his face into all sorts of contortions, walks knee-deep in manure, and, no matter how and managed to convey to me his disapproval of clean she may start, she makes herself into a the purchase.
little pig in half an hour. The ladies make a Our other servant is also an experiment, and great pet of Marie, for we have no little ones here. a failure. The servant difficulty not only exists Marie knows her power, talks French, plays at here as els ere, but it is aggravated by the in- bo-peep with us, has rather an awe of monsieur dependence of the people and their exceedingly and his great pipe; but still, even with him, pops dirty habits. Very few country girls care to go round the corner and cries “ Coocoo !” Yesterout to service, in fact, scarcely any at all. Here day, madame was playing with her some time, in the country we are driven into the towns for then turned her out into the garden, shut the servants. The women work on the land as hard door, and went up stairs, thinking all below snug as or harder than the men; moreover, they prefer and safe. In an hour or less she went down to their independent life to service; they like better her salon again, and found Marie seated amid to dig, or hoe, or weed, or get together the sea- all her knickknacks and books, which she had reweed for manure, in dirty clothes and sabots, moved from the tables on to the floor, and made than to submit to the neatness and respectability into a heap of unutterable confusion. Ere a word of domestic life. They are also in demand for could be spoken, Marie burst into a scream. She wives. The peasants marry when mere boys, knew that she was naughty, and no reproach without any apparent means of living, trusting to could be leveled at her because of her noise. Providence, and at worst content with black rye- However, she was put out in disgrace, well scoldbread and a lick of greasy soup. Our Jacquette ed by Jacquette, and presently came in very pretis a jeune fille, which is the French euphemistic tily to say, “Pardonnez-moi, madame-pardonexpression for an old maid. She will never see nez-moi." (Jacquette has just passed my window, fifty-five again, if she be not quite sixty; yet, in an old close-fitting nightcap, with a patched when I asked if she were veuve, I was told she petticoat and dirty face.) is a jeune fille. She is honest as daylight, which Marie can look just like a pretty Dutch doll, is more than I can say for most Bretons, who are when she is washed and dressed. She wears long pilferers, not robbers, at least in these parts. She clothes, just like her mother, only longer, with is economical to a fault; wastes nothing, almost a tight-fitting, square skull-cap embroidered with eats nothing; keeps the men on soup made of gold. Under such circumstances the little lady
is proud enough, I can tell you. She has a droll Yvonne, Jean's wife, is a well-built woman, way, too, of referring to her dead brother, who large, muscular, of the Breton type, and fairly was younger than herself. If she does not like good-looking. She is pleasant of speech and her food, she requests that it may be given to can talk French well. She seems to me the Jean. Yesterday she declared that Jean had nicest person of the family, but time may modify moved the articles in madame's room. Poor little this opinion, and if it does I will let you know. Jean (if he had lived) would, I fear, have expe- Yvonne works in the fields with her husband, but rienced what most younger brothers experience has special care of the cows, which she takes out from their elder sisters-a great deal of bullying. in the morning and brings in at night. For these
I hear Jean's step; he is going in to dinner ; it cows she gathers grass, tares, weeds, and varieis twelve o'clock. Poor Jean ! he is a dying man. ties of all sorts. She milks, churns, carries the He is in a consumption, and will not live another butter to market, and does that part of the farmyear. He is one of the best specimens of a Bre- ing which is the realization of all the rest. I say ton farmer; yet hardly a fair specimen, as he realization of all the rest, but I mean that it is speaks French, has been in the army, served in the end of the machine, out of which comes the Algeria, got taken prisoner by the Germans, and fully made coin or cash. Off eight acres of land is most intelligent. He attributes his sickness to there can be little of produce to sell ; all is conill-treatment in the army, and to German pris- sumed by four cows and one horse. Therefore, ons. Really, they do treat their soldiers in what these four cows produce is the net result France in a most brutal way. If such things of the farm, and it is sufficient to enable Jean, occurred in England, all the press would ring Yvonne, Marie, and a disagreeable mother-in-law with them ; Parliament would be set aflame, din- to live well, to pay their rent of ten pounds a ner-tables discuss them. This poor fellow (in a year, and to save annually another ten pounds. galloping decline) is in the territorial reserve, Living well with a Breton farmer means blackwhich made it incumbent on him to go to our rye bread, galettes of buckwheat flour, crêpes of town and pass fifteen days in barracks. He is buckwheat flour, vegetables, soup with lumps of so ill that he got a medical certificate, upon which bread and a skim of grease, and a piece of meat he relied to get excused, and he was excused, but when they kill a pig or go out to a wedding. It not until he had spent two days in barracks, al- seems to agree with them well, as they look most without food, and sleeping on the floor. He healthy and work well, at least when working for went in on Thursday noon, and never got any themselves. food till Friday night; and he says this was so You know now our household. Come with with all the others, and is generally so in the me next, and let me introduce you to our neighFrench army. Jean is about thirty years of age, bors. Strictly speaking, neighbors we have none, has a nice wife, and little Marie is his daughter, unless the guardian of the oyster-beds and Jean, He has land of his own, but lets it, preferring to and a widow who lives in a hovel at the end of farm, at a rental of ten pounds a year, the eight the gardens, are counted as such. But by neighacres which belong to this château. All that I bors one generally means those gentry who live have said of Jean will show that I am not anx- round about ; of these I desire to speak now. ious to run down the Breton farmer; so now, if Monsieur le B— is young, and a bachelor. He I say a little more, you must take it as arising lives in a pretty little house near the village. We from a great desire to tell you the whole truth pass his house whenever we drive into the town, about our life in Brittany. Jean is, in two re- and whenever we pass it we admire it, because it spects, a typical man, a fair representative of his looks so snug amid its roses and dahlias (yes, class. He is greedy of money, and he does not dahlias bloom here in June). Once or twice we mind little acts of dishonesty in order to gain the met a young man near the gate, who took off his money he covets. By the nature of his tenancy, hat, and never replaced it until we had passed. he holds half the stables, half the coach-houses, Of course we reciprocated his politeness, although half the various out-buildings. He will now and we did not know who he was, until one day he then make a mistake about the hay, and give walked up to me and introduced himself as Monsome of mine to his own horse; he will, if he sieur le B-, and stated that he had come to can, help himself to a little out of my gardens. me to tell me that the neighbors were rather asWhen he goes to market for me, he takes some- tonished that I did not call upon them, and had thing of his own at the same time, so as to mix expressed a wish to know us. I thanked him up matters, and make calculation or detection of heartily, but told him that it was not the custom petty thefts difficult. This I know, because I in England to call upon people until they had have several times been to market myself, and first called upon you; to which he replied that always brought home more money than Jean is the custom of France was for new-comers to call pleased to give me.
first, which custom he felt it his duty to make
known to me as a stranger. He offered also to breed. The Count is very fond of sea-fishing, go with us and introduce us to the houses of but rarely indulges his taste, because he says he those upon whom we ought to call. His offer has so much to do. By this you will perceive was accepted, and next day we traveled in that he is hardly a fair type of the Breton gentlecompany to our next neighbor, who is also the man, having, as it were, taken to commerce, leading member of our society, the Comte de whereas the others content themselves with the Kwho is married to an American lady. I smaller economies, or rather smaller trade of desire to represent to you these Breton gentle- growing things for the market, and turning a men exactly as they are, not as romance on the penny on their land; for here our gardens are one hand, or ridicule on the other, might paint really "market-gardens," out of which we take them. Some people travel the world with an as much as we want, and send the rest to market. English “bee in their bonnet,” nothing pleases We are not ashamed to sell the produce of our them if it differs from the English idea, and yet gardens, not even the best and highest of us, for when in England they are dissatisfied with the we are none of us rich enough here to do the English. I am a cosmopolitan, and have lived grand seigneur. I must pause in my account of in divers lands, so I admire what is good and dis- the Breton squires to describe the successor of like what is bad, without any reference to Eng- poor droll Thoma. He is quite as funny as lish customs. Behold, then, Monsieur le Comte Thoma, and perhaps better—you can't think how de K He is in manner a perfect gentleman; I laugh inwardly and outwardly too, sometimes, in dress careless—not slovenly, but content with at this funny little Breton mariner. He is an a country cut and comfortable clothes. He speaks ancient mariner. His age is perhaps fifty-five; a few words of English, which he has picked up his hair long, and streaming in the wind ; his from his wife, but he says that he can not under- stature about five feet four inches; his face thin; stand my accent, being accustomed to the Ameri- his feet either in sabots or bare; his nose always can. He is a busy man; not that he holds any moist; his hearing hard ; his understanding defioffice, but he farms his own land, besides doing cient; his pipe a weeny little thing two inches a smart business in sardine fishery, and in a sort long; his dress Breton. Yesterday was a very of carrying trade with vessels of small tonnage. windy day, but I would go out in the yacht. His house is on the seashore, so that he can Patient Daniel did not approve of attempting to overlook his marine business as well as his farm. get out of a land- and rock-inclosed bay with a It is, when viewed from a distance, picturesque; fierce head wind, but patient Daniel went at the but when viewed close it is something, as regards bidding of the fierce Englishman. Patient Daniel repair, like a Turkish building, and that means suggested two reefs in the mainsail, which were tumbling down, because the Turks build but duly tied up, and then he hoisted the sails in a never repair. Pleasant, courteous, friendly, is le mournful sort of way, as if we were a doomed Comte. His house is rough in the exterior, and crew. Up went the anchor with only the jib on does not possess the ordinary comforts of an her, and round she flew like a top, heading for English third-rate house within ; but the salon the shore. We could not bring her about, so up is spacious and well furnished. Madame was went the mainsail, and then she few like a gull once a Presbyterian, but has jumped from that at the rocks. More than once it looked as if she denomination into extreme Ultramontanism, in must strike, but patient Daniel and the fierce which now she revels both in tongue and person. Anglais, and a brave lady who was on board, I fancy she overleaps them all who were “to the pulled at the ropes, tacked, put out the sweeps, manner born,” and that she rather bores them, and after two hours of skin-tearing work got out as she most certainly bores me with her fervid into the open sea. There the wind blew half a vertism. Le Comte was one of the officers of gale, and fishing was out of the question; but the Pope's foreign legion, and was taken prisoner there Daniel lit up his little pipe, tucked up his at the siege of Rome, and all our Breton nobles little legs, and exposed his little bare feet as he here were in the Pope's army either in Rome or hugged the tiller and luffed at every fierce gust. France, so that their loyalty to Ultramontanism Mild were Daniel's oaths as the vessel drifted in may not be questioned, yet madame goes beyond stays. Sacré! and a few muttered words were them all. She has, however, fallen into congenial but a mild “French-soup" edition of the language company in her married life—if, indeed, she was of the British tar. Now you see Daniel as he was converted after marriage, of which fact I am not yesterday. As he is to-day, you may see him if certain. She is a pleasant lady, with a little you will. He has to dig a bit of ground for cabfamily of a rather mongrel character, but, so far bages, but he won't do it. He finds a hundred as I know, very nice and good. Pray don't think other things to do, so as not to do that. I have I mean anything disparaging by mongrel, but it my eye on him, but it is no good. Just now I is the only word which expresses well a cross went down the garden to have a look, but my
bird had flown. It was low water, and yesterday close, a springing out of muscles, a toss in the we lost the anchor of the little canot, or small air, and the losing man was lying flat on his rowing-boat, which we use to get aboard and back. ashore. So Daniel was out in the sea with bare A sort of double visit was next paid to an old legs feeling about for it. I was determined to nobleman and his sons, one residing with him bring him back, so tucked up breeks and went and one at a solitary farm cut out of the native in with him. We found it, of course, with my woods. This man is more than “ peculiar.” He help, very quickly, and now, while I am writing, is the product of the soil of France and of the Daniel should be at that piece of digging. I will French laws. Monsieur de P—, representajust go out and see, and bring you word when I tive of one of the old French noblesse, did live come back. Not a bit of it. There is not a sin- in the family château, which is no great things, gle spadeful turned, and Daniel is not even in surrounded by his family. His father was brothsight. These Bretons are Irish, I am sure—so er to one of the bishops of Quimper, and all the droll—50 lazy.
family are what they call here “ blanc," which Our next visit was paid to the Comte de means devoted to the priests and the Roman
- a nobleman of very ancient descent, Church. There are of course many whose devoyoung, pleasant, with a pretty Norman wife, a tion to Rome is purely political or controversial, sportsman, an ex-pontifical dragoon. His house but such is not the case with Monsieur de Pis new or newish, but the grounds, although ex nor do I think it is so with his sons. tensive, are nothing worth, from an English point Monsieur de P— is a perfect specimen of a of view. The salon looks out upon fine level perfect French gentleman. His manners are not lawns, which, according to our Breton ideas, look constrained, but they are perfect. His intellect better knee-deep in grass, bring more in, and has been cultivated, and his religion is both simcost less in labor than our English close-cut ple and fervent. When his family grew up, he sward. As for sporting, there is none in sum- parted his property among them, so as to give mer; so le Comte de T
must find it difficult the family seat to the eldest son, without subto fill up his time; but I have learned in America jecting them or himself to the French laws of that there is a very clever way of doing nothing subdivision. He must have been rich, for all the very slowly, so as never to feel tired of doing it, family have land. After this act he built a little and such is the fashion also here. Certainly the Canadian shanty upon land which he had given Comte was judge, manager, and everything of a to his youngest son, and now he lives a sort of local race or race-meeting not long since, but semi-monastic life with that son. For amuserace-meetings are rare here. After the races the ment and profit he has flooded, by means of the Maire and other local celebrities of the second tide, his low-lying meadows for the cultivation of rank got up a grand wrestling-match, for which fish for the Paris market. These meadows he this part of France is famous. It was held at a stocked from the sea, so that now they are held large village some four miles away from us. I without any need of the introduction of fresh fish, went of course. On my arrival at the field of and he says the thing pays fairly well. The tide battle the fun had commenced. Within an im- flows in and out, being regulated by floodgates. mense circle, in the middle of which were the When I called, the old man was at home. He judges, were two young athletes struggling and received me as a nobleman, and would not be tugging each other's vests, as if the grand idea seated until I had taken the chair of honor, bewas to denude the adversary. I suppose they neath a niche in which was a statue of the Blessed struggled for more than half an hour; but, as one Virgin. The room was small, warmed by a stove, of the wrestlers was very agile and stuck his head paneled with unpainted wood, and the furniture right into the other man's stomach, thus keeping consisted of a rough table and a few chairs. The him far away, there was no fair throw, and they conversation was easy, as Monsieur de Phad to be parted without any result. Many times seemed perfectly acquainted with England as they went down, but nothing counts here except well as other lands, and my hour passed away a fair throw upon the flat of the back, so that agreeably enough. When we parted, he escorted both shoulder-blades touch the ground. This me to the outer gate bareheaded. I need only was not wrestling such as the people delight in, add that the sons agree perfectly well in the rebut soon they had their pleasure. A strong, tall ligious opinions of the father, and that Catholiman jumped into the ring, took the prize out of cism assumes in their case its very loveliest type. the judge's hand, and, hat in hand, walked round, They yield a willing obedience to all the behests defying all present. Another jumped into the of the Church, yet suffer under no oppression ring, threw down his hat as gage of battle, and from the clergy; and all this arises because they to it they went with a will; in fact, wrestling as it are content to live in the half-light of intellect, ought to be. Within two minutes there was a the unquestioning obedience, the willing submis